in this canvas shelter with my one candle. Men's
voices sing and talk gruffly in the bivouacs below.
Some are singing hymns. (It is Sunday evening.) Two
(B Company) officers here. One an Oxford man
(Magdalen); about 25; gentle and diffident; reads
good books^ not a strong character; I imagine him
repeating Kipling's poem "If" to himself and hoping
to be a better man for it. The other is an ex-com-
mercial traveller from Welshpool; aged 35, with a
broken nose and a slight stammer. A considerable
character; very garrulous and amusing.
March 23. Battalion moved 3 miles down the Nablus
road to new camp (on terraces among fig trees). Hot
day. Thousands of small purple iris out.
March 26. Seem to be getting on all right. Very-
easy life, mending roads.
The Battalion Doctor has made all the difference
to me lately (mentally). Different species from the
other officers. Lean, grimy and brown, he goes grub-
bing up roots on the hills; knows every bird; rather
like a bird himself. Before the war used to cruise
about on rivers and canals and remote streams study-
ing wild life* Eyes like brown pools; scrubby mous-
tache; foul pipe; voice somehow suggests brown water
flowing. Feels kind about animals (instead of shoot-
Am learning about birds from him. Went out yes-
terday and was shown Gritchmar's Bunting, Nubian
Shrike, Syrian Jay, Lesser Whitethroat, Redstart,
Arabian Wheatear, Goldfinch, and Blackcap. Also
a Kestrel and some Egyptian Vultures. Can't think
what I should do without the Doctor!
March 28, Late afternoon. Quiet and warm. Frogs
croaking in the wet ground up the wadi. Small thorn
trees make clumps of young green up the terraces,